Baguettes

Baguettes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
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I’ve been experimenting with different breads lately, you just can’t beat that fresh bready smell as it comes out of the oven to make you feel like a domestic goddess. I was inspired to make baguettes after yet another Bake Off session! This is based on Paul Hollywood’s method. The recipe makes four baguettes but some of them disappeared before I could take a picture!

Ingredients

500g strong white bread flour

10g salt

10g dry yeast

370ml cool water

Olive oil for greasing

Directions

Lightly oil a bowl or container with olive oil. Paul recommends using a square plastic container (2.25L)  as it helps with shaping the dough later.

Put the yeast, flour and salt (in that order) in the thermomix. Add 370 ml water. Mix for 5 seconds speed 5 and then knead for 6 minutes on interval setting. Place dough in bowl, cover and leave to prove for about an hour or until at least doubled in size. If you don’t have a thermie then this can also be made in a freestanding mixer or by hand….

Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Gently tip out the dough onto the surface. You want to try and keep as much air as possible in the dough. Divide the dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into an oblong by flattening out slightly and folding the sides into the middle. Roll into a sausage and gently roll with your hands further until about 30 cm long. I have a baguette pan and place the baguettes into it to let them rise again.  You can use a couche made of linen or cotton if you don’t have a special pan. The sides of the baguettes need to be supported or they will just spread sideways and be flat baguettes! Cover and leave to rise for another hour until doubled or until they spring back quickly when lightly prodded with a finger.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mk 9 and place a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven to warm.

When risen slash each baguette four times on the diagonal and dust with a little flour if you like.

Pour 750ml of cold water into the roasting pan to create steam and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

8 Strand Bread Plait

Today I tried out an eight strand bread plait, inspired by The Great British Bake Off! I used the basic bread dough recipe that I’ve already published, did the first rise and then set about making my plait….

Divide the dough into eight equal portions and roll out with your hands into strands about 40cm long. Number the strands from 1-8 from left to right.  When you move a strand it takes the number of its new position.

Now the fun starts…

Step 1: Place 8 under 7 and over 1

Step 2: Place 8 over 5

Step 3: Place 2 under 3 and over 8

Step 4: Place 1 over 4

Step 5: Place 7 under 6 and over 1

Repeat steps 2-5 until all the dough is braided. Leave to prove for another hour, brush with an egg wash and then bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C.

 

Bread

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I thought I’d start my recipes with bread.  That everyday food that we always seem to run out of at the most inconvenient time!  I’m the proud owner of a Thermomix which makes baking bread easy and it’s lovely aroma fills the house, making it warm and cosy and making me feel like a domestic goddess!

This is my go-to bread recipe for plain, simple, delicious white bread.

Ingredients

300g Water

600g Bread flour

2 tsp Dried yeast (one sachet)

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

2tsp Bread improver (optional)

15g Olive oil

Directions

Place water, yeast and sugar into Thermomix bowl and heat 1 and half minutes/37C/speed 1

Add flour, salt, bread improver and oil.  Mix 5 seconds speed 5 to form dough. Knead for 6 minutes (Interval setting).

Place dough into lightly oiled bowl.

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Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  This takes about an hour or up to two depending on how warm it is.

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Give the dough another quick knead by hand.  Today I made a selection of big and small rolls but it also makes one huge loaf or two small ones…… To make rolls, divide up into portions and shape and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Otherwise place into a lined bread tin. Leave to rise until they’re doubled in size again or the dough has reached the top of the tin.  Put the oven on at 200C to warm up.
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I like to brush with a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds to make them look pretty!

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Cook in the oven, the smallest rolls took 10 minutes and the larger 12 to 15….. The loaf takes a little longer, about 25 to 30 minutes.  I often take the loaf out of the tin and pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes which makes an extra crunchy crust.  It should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom if it’s done.

They freeze well in a plastic bag for up to a couple of months if you can resist eating them all immediately!  We had ours with roast pork, crab apple and chilli jelly (recipe to follow) and some home grown lettuce….delicious….

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